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Review: Dear Bully

The Deets:
Audience: YA and MG readers
Pages: 369
Publisher: September 6th 2011 by HarperTeen
ISBN: 9780062060976
Genre: short stories
Source: My own personal copy



Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their StoriesYOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the "funny guy" into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Today's top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.



This topic is way too relevant today.

I selected this book for the YA book club with the high school students at my school. We focused on nonfiction and historical fiction for April, and I thought this would be a great topic/book to discuss.

As I started reading some of the stories (I admit I read the authors I was familiar with first), I realized how poignant these tales would be. Some seemed fictionalized, but certainly believable-- while others were painfully penned from life experiences.

I think it's so important for younger readers to realize they are not alone. Bullying is real, and it is a huge problem. Like one of the authors wrote, it does not end in high school either. I think we often forget that some people never stop bullying others. In fact, one story (by Carrie Ryan) mentions a teacher (!!!) picking on a younger Carrie Ryan's speech. I thought this was especially horrible! As a teacher, I cannot imagine insulting a kid in such a way about something they cannot control. It is like the ultimate evil.

I think Alyson Noel penned it perfectly when she described the bullying she encountered from her peers as a "systematic form of social terrorism that consisted of snide looks, passed notes, and whispered insults". Luckily though, she did not let her horrible experience stop her from ultimately using those experiences to write her novel Art Geeks and Prom Queens. Authors, like R.L. Stine, also used the feelings of terror they experienced from their bullies to recreate the feelings their characters (and readers) experience in their books.

The theme of this novel resonates throughout Dear Bully: Bullying is horrible and the victims are not alone. I never want readers to forget that, because it is too easy to feel outnumbered and small in the midst of such a horrible storm. A huge thank you is owed to the authors that shared their personal stories to help create this anthology.

Comments

  1. I think this would be an incredibly moving read. I read The Letter Q - which is similar for LGBTQ authors writing to their former selves - and it made me cry more than once.

    ReplyDelete

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